In this scene, the two werewolves Tanneken and Ashby meet their captor, Herr Kauz, for the first time (Tanneken has met him before the novel begins, but this is the reader’s introduction to him). When describing Herr Kauz, I call him a traditional Evil Scientist.

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Tanneken woke in a cage, together with Ashby. Crouched next to her, both of them still naked, he looked more alert than she felt, probably because his larger form lent him more resistance to Kauz’ sedative gas. A hot electric light illuminated them alone, throwing the rest of the room into deepest shadow. Just at the edge of the shadow, Kauz sat on a plain wooden chair, rolling a rattan cane between his palms.

Her urge to snarl stopped before it reached her throat, as fear slammed into her unexpected and vicious as a blow. She had thought she’d forgotten, crushed her memories, but his unexpected appearance, her helpless at his will, was too much like it had been before, and her carefully built defenses crumbled.

Ashby laid a hand on the middle of her back, spreading his fingers wide over her spine. The touch was hotter than the light, tingling out to the ends of her fingers and toes. She sat up quickly, throwing off his hand, and summoned her most arrogant stare to aim at the old man outside the cage.

“Cowardly son of pox-ridden incest,” she said. “Come closer, and I will give you all that you deserve.”

Ashby said nothing. She could sense him near her, tension singing through his limbs. When she glanced at him, he settled back onto his heels, his hands loose at his sides rather than concealing his genitals. He smiled. “Like what you see, Herr Kauz?”

Kauz used his cane to lever himself from the chair, then stalked a step closer, then another. Tanneken willed herself not to cringe away. Suddenly, he whipped the cane against the bars with a mighty rattling clang.

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c. Victoria Janssen 2009

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